Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Dress for Success!

The above advice was recently found circulating on Facebook. At first, it's a bit shocking, especially when you get to the part about being "constantly fearful that a visitor will drop in or your husband will come home". My, how times have changed.

On second glance, I am more in awe that something like this would be included in a product manual. Let's face it, product manuals nowadays barely even include actual instructions. More like cryptic numbered pictures that leave you guessing if A fits into C or is that C actually a G?  While we have advanced in some areas, we have certainly gone backwards in the area of user manuals.  The fact is that this little gem contains a lot of good advice, not just for sewing, but for all areas of creativity and life.

The first paragraph, for instance, is a good one. Preparing oneself mentally for any creative act is a great way to start. Your time is valuable, and this step helps you make the most of it. This is really good advice and creates a connection between company and customer. Singer wants you to have success at sewing! (And we thought we invented Lovebranding...maybe we're just taking what was good from the good ole' days and making it better.)

We start to run into a little controversy with the beginning of the second paragraph, . And I think this is where a lot of modern artistic moms are having some trouble. I am a student of Julia Cameron's Artist's Way, and I have been for quite some time. In there somewhere, she basically says, Screw This! Do your art rather than clean the house (I'm paraphrasing here).  The problem is that there are a lot of us who do create more freely and better with a clean environment. A lot of people cannot create freely if their environment is disheveled and unkempt. Personally, my vibrations are elevated in a pleasant environment. I like going to my studio when it is neat and ready for the day. I think the difference here can be clarified by asking yourself...Self, what do you prefer and why?  If you are doing "chores" because you are living in fear...well, that probably is not going to fly with the modern crafter or artist. But, if you are cleaning your environment, because you prefer that your environment be an orderly jumping off space, then so be it. Develop household practices that allow for both, time for cleaning your space, and time for creating in that clean space. 

This seemingly "outdated" advice sparked a conversation with my friend, Lillian Brue. Instead of just rejecting it on face value, we rolled it around and poked it a bit, seeing what we could learn from it. Although neither one of us is running to put on lipgloss when our husbands arrive home, we both could see the value in getting ready for the day.  The above advice is from 1949. We looked to history when women and men dressed for all occasions, whether it be work or shopping or lunch with the ladies. Now, I'm not about to put on a button-down shirt every day or a pair of pantyhose EVER, but I do believe there is something to this dressing for success.  As Lillian and I delved deeper into the subject, we talked about the appropriateness of outfits and matching those to events or activities in your day. We also discussed what your outfits convey, what they say about you.  For instance, if you are headed to an art workshop, a long flowy skirt with some silver dangly earrings would not only meet a desired level of comfort, but would also present the message that you are creative and that you care about your appearance. Conversely, if you are going to a doctor's appointment or a school board meeting, taking the extra time to put together an appropriate outfit not only shows respect for yourself but also respect for those around you.  Unfortunately, I think this is sadly lacking in a modern American culture where ill-fitting T-shirts and stretchy pants are the uniform of choice.

I happen to LOVE jeans! One of my favorite pairs is about 10 years old, threadbare with holes held together with various Van Halen, yin and yang, and Keep On Truckin' patches. Am I going to wear this to a potential gallery or to present a workshop proposal? Maybe... if I paired them with a great blazer, a chunky necklace, and a nice pair of boots...something to elevate it, something that says I care about myself and you! It's not about being fancy, it's more about being aware. 

So, while I don't agree that one needs to apply powder and mascara in order to show up at the studio table, I do feel that putting thought and consciousness into your appearance makes you feel better about yourself. And feeling better about yourself makes you walk in this world with clarity and a smile on your face. And walking in this world with a smile on your face invites in all kinds of happy experiences and opportunities, and isn't this really what it means to make yourself as attractive as possible, as Singer suggests?

What if we replaced the part about being constantly fearful of a visitor dropping in to something like being ready for when opportunity comes a knocking? Would that make a difference? 

How do you present yourself to the world? Do you give it any thought? Do you notice how others are dressing? Maybe try a little experiment...try on different outfits and see how you feel, then go out in the world and see how people react to you and more importantly how you show up. I'd love to hear your results. 

Until next time, go out and be kind!


  1. Lol did you write this about me??!!

    1. Lisa, you definitely dress for success!


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